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Carmelitas are a brown sugar oatmeal cookie bar filled with melty soft caramel and chocolate chips. Easy to make, addicting and everyone loves them. COME TO MAMA.
Carmelitas Recipe | Heaven On Earth
Man oh man do I have a delicious recipe for you today! Friends, meet the humble Carmelita bar. Easy to make and downright addicting, Carmelitas are basically a soft oatmeal cookie baked into bars, stuffed with chocolate chips and gooey caramel. Not hard in the least, just takes a little time to bake and cool. Grab some napkins and dive right in!
Looking for another addicting bar to try? Check out my Magic Bars!
Main Ingredients Needed
You are only 9 ingredients and 20 minutes away from heaven! A lot of these listed ingredients aren’t new or foreign territory. Lots of stuff you should already have in the pantry. Here’s what you need to get started:
Oatmeal Base + Topping
- All-Purpose Flour – all good things start with flour. I use unbleached all purpose.
- Brown Sugar – to sweeten.
- Rolled Oats – this gives a light texture that contrasts super well to the other layers.
- Baking Soda – our leavening
- Salt – to balance out the sweet.
- Salted Butter – partially melted. Soft enough to mix with a spoon and to combine all the dry ingredients together.
- Kraft Caramels – these are soft square caramels that you can find in your local grocery store.
- Heavy Cream – this is to make the mixture pourable and soft, even after refrigeration.
- Chocolate Chips – these babies are sprinkled throughout the middle of the bars.
How to Make Carmelitas
For full details on how to make Carmelitas, see the recipe card down below 🙂
Step 1: Preheat + Prep
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 or 9×9 square pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving longer edges along the sides. Spray the paper with cooking spray and set it aside.
Step 2: Make Oatmeal Base + Bake
In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, salt, and butter until large crumbles form. Press half the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Step 3: Melt Caramel
While the bottom is baking, unwrap caramels and place into a microwave-safe bowl with heavy cream. Microwave on high, stirring after every 30 seconds until it’s completely smooth and melted together.
Step 4: Layer + Bake Again
Once you pull the base out of the oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips and drizzle over the melted caramel and cream mixture. Top with remaining oatmeal crumbs and gently press into the caramel. Bake 18-20 minutes or until the top and edges begin to brown.
Step 5: Cool, Chill + Serve!
Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to help everything set. So find a show to watch, a chore to do or go take a walk. (Longer time spent in the fridge can make the edges of the cooked caramel a little hard, which isn’t my favorite.) Cut into squares and serve.
Carmelitas Recipe Variations
Now that you have this simple Carmelitas recipe down, let’s talk variations. Because what could be better than making a delicious sweet treat, even better by adding what you like?! Here are a couple of ideas to alter Carmelitas:
- Sea Salt – consider a salted caramel Carmelita bar by adding sea salt flakes atop the filling in the middle. That perfect blend between salty and sweet is just too good!
- Nuts – add some nutty and crunch to these bars by adding chopped walnuts or pecans to the filling before baking.
- Coconut – if you love macaroons, you’ll want to add coconut shavings into these tasty treats.
- Ice Cream – the simplest way to elevate these bars is to throw caution to the wind and serve them while hot, with vanilla ice cream. YUM!
Because we melted the caramels together with a little heavy cream, the caramel will stay soft at room temperature. After the initial refrigeration, cut into bars and serve.
If you have any leftovers, place them into an airtight container and leave them on the counter for up to two days or in the fridge for four. The caramel that got a little harder around the edges might be slightly harder/chewier to eat (especially out of the fridge) but shouldn’t be so hard that it becomes inedible. Either option is fine.
More Cookie Bars to Try!
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Sugar Cookie Bars
- Caramel Snickerdoodle Bars
- Double Chocolate Cookie Bars
- Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars
- S’mores Bars
If you love cookies in bar form you should definitely check out those other recipes I’ve listed above, they all are super easy and satisfy sweet cravings. Don’t forget to save this Carmelitas Recipe by printing, pinning or bookmarking this page.
Printable recipe card is below, enjoy friends!
For the Oatmeal Cookie Bar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 9 tablespoons salted butter partially melted
For the filling
- 11 oz package Kraft caramels unwrapped, 38 pieces
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips I used semi-sweet
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 or 9×9 square pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving longer edges along the sides. Spray the paper with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, salt, and butter until large crumbles form. Press half the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes.
- While the bottom is baking, unwrap caramels and place into a microwave-safe bowl with heavy cream. Microwave on high, stirring after every 30 seconds until its completely smooth and melted together.
- Once you pull the base out of the oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips and drizzle over the melted caramel and cream mixture. Top with remaining oatmeal crumbs and gently press into the caramel. Bake 18-20 minutes or until the top and edges begin to brown.
- Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate 1 hour to help the caramel set. (Longer time spent in the fridge can make the edges of the cooked caramel a little hard, which isn't my favorite.) Cut into squares and serve.
Carmelitas are one of my favorite bar recipes and this one does not disappoint! SO GOOD!
9 T of butter? Seems like alot
There are 8 tablespoons in 1/2 cup of butter, so it’s not *that* much. 1 tablespoon beyond half a cup. Plus, this yields 20 squares.
Hi! I LOVE this recipe & make every year for Christmas. Can i freeze these if I make ahead of time?
These sound delicious! Would these work if I sautéd Apples with a bit of butter and spices instead of the chocolate chips?
I’ve never tried that and would worry that it might be too much moisture from the apples, but you are welcome to give it a whirl! Sure would be yummy!
Could you freeze these if made ahead of time and then pop them in the oven to thaw?
Never made it to a storage container. My grandson asked me to make a pan for his roommates. Getting on it’
These look great and I have leftover homemade Carmel in my fridge. Do you think it will be ok to use homemade?
If your caramel is really liquidy, it probably won’t hold together. Try stirring in a little flour to thicken as it bakes if its too thin.
Lauren these look awesome, was wondering if I could use gluten free flour?
Yum can’t wait to make!
Can quick oats be used?